Want to know what happens when you sleep and why it’s important?
For starters, you know sleep is vital to your well-being, but do you know what goes on in your mind and body when you hit the sheets?
Most people equate sleep with good dreams, bad dreams, or just sleeping poorly—but there’s much more to it.
Your body follows a sleep pattern that facilitates sleep every night. This process has much to do with your circadian rhythm. In fact, you’ll start to notice sleep interruptions when this “rhythm” hits a snag of some sort.
Let’s check out a few examples of what happens when you sleep at night and why it makes such an impact on your body.
Recharging & Repairing
Did you know your body’s working hard while you sleep? It uses this downtime to repair needed areas by releasing hormones to stimulate tissue repair and blood vessel strengthening.
So if you hit the Stairmaster a little too hard that day, rest assured a good night’s rest will set you on the right path to recovery.
Plus, the immune system depends on sleep since it’s the best time to build and enhance protection for your health.
In fact, research shows people behind on sleep are more susceptible to cold and infection.
The Release of Toxins
You encounter toxins throughout the day and absorb them quite easily, so it’s a good thing your body releases them while you sleep.
When you sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid dramatically increases, washing away harmful toxins throughout the night.
It’s a remarkable process because it rids the brain of toxic substances that hinder condition and development.
Four Stages of Sleep
Some people think it’s all about how many hours of sleep you get. While this aspect is equally important, it’s helpful to keep sleep cycles in mind.
When you sleep, your body goes through multiple sleep cycles, with each one of these cycles playing an essential role in the quality of sleep you get. When you experience any sleep interruption, it interferes with the natural process of sleep—and its cycles.
These cycles break down into two distinct phases—REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep.
Let’s break down these sleep cycles and see what they’re all about.
Stage one is the “dozing off” stage and only lasts a few minutes. Your body isn’t fully relaxed but is working on it.
When you reach stage two, your body is much more relaxed—body temperature drops, heart rate slows, and breathing slows.
Stage 3, also known as “slow-wave sleep,” is the most beneficial. Your body has reached its ultimate peak of relaxation, and it’s the cycle that allows your body to repair and detox itself. This is when you’re in that “deep sleep” and get the most benefit from it.
It’s important to note the first three cycles are non-REM sleep cycles. It’s only when you reach stage four that brain activity shoots back up, similar to brain activity when you’re awake. This explains why such vivid dreams take place in stage four.
These cycles repeat throughout the night—every 90 minutes.
Now that we’ve talked about what happens to the body when you sleep let’s look at how you can get the best sleep every night.
Tips to Get a Restful Night’s Sleep
You know what happens when you don’t get enough sleep—you drag through the dry, irritated, and unable to concentrate.
It’s no surprise sleep deprivation leaves you feeling a little loopy, but it’s nothing a few good hours of shut-eye won’t fix.
But if you have issues falling asleep and staying asleep, your body won’t be able to do all the “housekeeping” things it does when your body goes through those multiple sleep cycles every night.
Let’s look at a few methods that enhance your overall sleep quality.
Limiting Screen Time
It’s tempting (almost addictive) to scroll through your phone for hours on end while you lay in bed, but all of the blue light keeps you awake—the same applies to the television or computer screen.
These types of electronic devices emit large amounts of blue-ray light and directly affect your circadian rhythm. This process involves a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which tells your body when to wake and when to sleep, based on light exposure.
Sure, you could try those cool blue ray glasses you picked up from Amazon, but it’s better to practice to take some time to rest the mind and body for bed with deep breathing and positive thoughts.
Speaking of deep breathing and positive thoughts—why not go ahead and do some meditation?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the whole meditation process, especially if you think you have to follow some specific format.
Make the process your own.
Overall, it’s about quieting the mind and finding balance and inner peace—if only for a couple of minutes.
Deep breathing before bed works to slow the heart rate down and relax the body so adrift off effortlessly.
Cut Back on Caffeine
More than 85% of the US population drinks coffee regularly—at least one cup a day.
However, when you have a cup of coffee late in the day, it affects how quickly you fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.
One cup of coffee affects your sleep up to six hours after consumption, so keep this in mind when you go for an evening cup of joe.
If all else fails, you can add sleep-enhancing supplements like Melatonin to your nightly routine.
Remember the circadian rhythm we spoke of earlier and how it gets thrown out of sync by several things?
Well, Melatonin helps reconfigure your sleep cycle so you can get back on track—sleeping like a baby. You can also try CBD Gummies with Melatonin; both convey calming effects that prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep.
Who’s Ready for Bed?
When you know all the incredible things that happen behind the scenes, you begin to understand the human mind and body’s inner workings.
More importantly, you know when you’re feeling tired and burnt out, a good night’s sleep can get you back on track in no time.